I pulled the van up to the curb at the airport terminal. My husband grabbed his luggage and tried to hug away our little girl’s tears before heading out on yet another business trip. I drove home to the all-too-familiar grind of dishes and laundry, working and mothering on my own. Rob carried painful guilt and loneliness that no exciting destination could ease in his heart. Our marriage became raw and fragile as ongoing separation weakened our relationship. We needed God to strengthen our marriage across the miles between us.
Are your life circumstances keeping you from connecting with your spouse? Do you spend far more time apart than together? Is your marriage becoming buried under the mountain of needs and responsibilities on your shoulders?
Today, we offer hope as we welcome Kristi Woods to the blog. In her years as a military wife, she knew the hardships and challenges of a long-distance relationship. As a follower of Jesus, she also learned how his power and love could make all the difference in their marriage. Kristi brings wisdom and encouragement for every couple who wants to grow a stronger relationship.
(Don’t miss yesterday’s podcast episode with Kristi Woods as we unpack this topic together. For more of her wonderful insight, listen here!)
How God Can Strengthen Your Marriage When Distance Threatens
When my husband joined the United States Navy, the time we spent in different time zones due to Uncle Sam’s call tested our marriage. But we learned something along the way. Communication is key. Even more so? Gathering help from Above. Apply some or all of the following practical faith-based tips and watch how God can strengthen your marriage—even when distance threatens.
Build a Successful Marriage: With Faith
My husband, Tony, joined the Navy right out of high school. He sailed the seas on the big grey ships for four years, then reentered civilian life as a reservist. During the reservist phase, we married. But a bee buzzed in his bonnet—he wanted to go back into the Navy as an active duty member.
A lifetime civilian up to that point, I fought the notion. After all, divorce rates angled upward for military couples, and I’d be left to parent our future children alone. No way!
But God had other plans. Tony reupped and we dove straight into the military lifestyle.
Although young Christians at the time, we carried one thing with us that proved foundational for our future years: faith in Jesus Christ. Thank goodness, because life got messy at times! We needed hope.
A marriage built—truly built—on faith helps us grow and prosper as individuals and as a married couple. Jesus provides a rock-solid foundation on which to stand. Take that faith into marriage and across the miles.
Is Jesus your rock-solid foundation? If not, why not start there? Pray and ask Him to be your Savior.
Building A Strong Marriage Foundation: Through Action
If you’ve ever stood at the ocean’s edge as the tide rolls in, you understand how easily sand shifts underfoot, destabilizing whatever or whomever rests on it. Wisdom calls us to build wisely on the rock of Christ Jesus—not shifting sand. That goes for our individual faith as well as building a strong marriage foundation.
It’s easy to talk the faith talk, but Matthew 7:24-27 clearly states that wisdom comes with action. Whether in the privacy of our home or out in the open for all to see, a willingness to do and go as God instructs—obedience—is paramount and beneficial for strong marriages—even when distance threatens.
For more on rock versus sand building, read Matthew 7:24-27. To better understand God’s Will, read the Bible. Here are Bible reading plans.
Strengthen Your Marriage: Through Powerful Prayers
The Lord garnered my full attention one day when he quickened my heart to pray for my deployed husband. I’ll be honest, adrenalin started to race. So did my thoughts as I grew concerned Tony was in trouble.
During an onboard investigation, my “computer guy” husband had been instructed to search specific computers for risqué photos related to the case. He’d always been careful with what he looked at, but Tony reluctantly began the search. At the same time and halfway around the world, God called me to prayer.
They cut ship communication during the investigation, so a few days passed before Tony contacted me. Once I found out why I’d been called to prayer, I thanked our Almighty God. He uses our communion and communication with Him to help strengthen marriages—even when distance threatens.
Pray for your marriage. If you’re not sure what to pray, ask God. He’ll answer.
How to Build Up Your Marriage: Thoughts & Communication
Intonations in email and text don’t always relay the heart of a message. During one deployment, an email from Tony arrived, and I took offense. A marital spat sat on the horizon—waiting to explode whenever he contacted me next.
Once we had the opportunity to discuss the email, however, we found that I misunderstood his intention and the email’s intonation completely. There was no reason to get fired up. Thankfully, the willingness to communicate helped us avoid an unnecessary squabble.
Remember to keep thoughts tightly attached to the truth of God because they’re often tied to communication. I wanted to take offense, but the Bible’s clear on refusing to be offended. It’s also clear on being slow to anger. In our case and often in others, God uses simple and loving communication to help build stronger marriages.
Refuse offense. Ask for clarification versus responding in hurt—even when communication takes time in coming.
Strengthen Your Marriage with these Bible Verses
The Bible is sharper than a two-edged sword. A proactive and reactive weapon, it also lights our path. When distance threatens—or even before it does—pray or profess these scriptures over your marriage:
Strength: Ephesians 6:10:
Pray that your spouse would be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Wisdom: James 1:5
Ask God for wisdom—for yourself and your spouse.
Thought Life: Phil. 4:8
Pray for both you and your spouse to think about what’s lovely, pure, praiseworthy, and so forth.
Life sometimes sends us in different directions, but our true help comes from Above, from God Almighty. He shows us how to strengthen our marriage when we look to Him.
Kristi Woods, writer, speaker, and podcaster, most loves the label “Jesus girl.” Her latest Bible study, Created to Believe: A Bible Word Study, and other faith-building tools can be found at www.KristiWoods.net. Kristi, her handsome, retired-from-the-Navy husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have set roots in Oklahoma–where she keeps a close watch for tornadoes and good chocolate.
Marriage can be a such a joy but also a tough journey–especially when a job or some other event takes us miles apart from our spouse. Thanks so much for this opportunity to share about Tony’s and my experience as well as the faithfulness of our loving God, Rob and Joanna. May readers find hope for their marriages.